747 Wing House (3)



‘This project is a 55 acre property in the remote hills of Malibu with several sites and unique topography with panoramic views looking out to a nearby mountain range, a valley, and the ocean with distant island views.

The client, a woman, requested curvilinear/feminine shapes for the building. The progenitor of the building’s form was envisioned as a floating curved roof. It soon became apparent, that in fact, an airplane wing itself could work. In researching airplane wings and superimposing different airplane wing types on the site to scale, the wing of a 747, at over 2,500 sq. ft., became an ideal configuration to maximize the views and provide a self supporting roof with minimal additional structural support needed.

The wing structures are conceived to float on top of simple concrete, shot-crete, and rammed-earth walls that are cut into the hillsides. The floating roofs will derive simple support from steel brace frames, which will attach to strategic mounting points on the wing where the engines were previously mounted. Frameless, structural self-supporting glass will create the enclosure from the concrete slab on grade into the wing as roof.

As we analyzed the cost, it seemed to make more sense to acquire an entire airplane and to use as many of the components as possible, like the Native American Indians used every part of the buffalo. Therefore, the property is to consist of several structures all made with components and pieces of a Boeing 747-200 aircraft. As a structure and engineering achievement, the aircraft encloses a lot of space using the least amount of materials in a very resource efficient manner. The recycling of the 4.5 million parts of this “big aluminum can” is seen as an extreme example of sustainable reuse and appropriation. American consumers and industry throw away enough aluminum in a year to rebuild our entire airplane commercial fleet every three months.’

Ms Rehwald has to obtain various permits to go ahead with construction. In particular, she has been asked by the civil aviation authorities to mark the elements of the plane visible from the sky to show that they are not part of a crashed aircraft.

David Hertz

747 wing house (2005 – …)

Boeing 747

Malibu, CA, USA


Picture: a computer rendering of the Wing House’s art studio interior, http://www.mensvogue.com/design/slideshows/2007/06/david_hertz?slide=1#showNav also more renderings of the house.

Pictures of the cutting of the actual 747 on Superuse: https://www.superuse.org/story.php?title=747-Dissection

More information: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4926216.stm

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Toon Verberg